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Growing irritations w Dresden series Spoilers ALL BOOKS SPOILERS

#101 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 06:52 PM

View PostInane Babble, on 15 September 2014 - 02:21 PM, said:

Maybe use internally consistent instead of realism.

That is what I meant.
Dragons in a fantasy setting are ok, they are realistic within the narrative. Humans that do not see anything wrong with trading blows with stronger oponnents, especially if they have other options, are not.
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#102 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 07:05 PM

Why not?
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#103 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 07:31 PM

Around 400 000 years ago our ancestors figured out that they needed weapons to deal with stronger animals because obviously they couldn't simply trade blows with them and expect it to work. Harry ignores that 'recent' development, trying to out-magic magical beings. He wins, of course :)

This post has been edited by Saitama: 15 September 2014 - 07:32 PM

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#104 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 07:50 PM

If Harry punches up time after time, and succeeds time after time, and so continues punching up...doesn't that strike you as consistent?
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#105 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 07:58 PM

Or put a different way, if Harry just ran away or got his ass kicked every time he went up against someone allegedly more powerful than him, the books would kind of suck.

It's the whole hero triumphs over adversity thing.

And it's not like Harry just pulls a Dragonball Z and Saiyans up his power levels because plot. In most books he outsmarts, outplans or outnasties his opponents.

Also, just because they seem more powerful, doesn't mean that they are.
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#106 User is offline   champ 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 08:07 PM

View PostSaitama, on 15 September 2014 - 06:52 PM, said:

Humans that do not see anything wrong with trading blows with stronger oponnents, especially if they have other options, are not.


You've obviously never been to Newcastle...

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#107 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 08:10 PM

That he out-punches stronger oponnents is one issue I have a problem with. Another one is that even though he succeeds, it is usually after running out of mana/endurance and surviving anyway. A rational person would realize pretty quickly that a strategy that leaves you so vulnerable time and time again is not a good one. Especially if you have a choice.
Harry consistently beats the odds despite having a handicap. As a person who is trying to think in probabilities, this is not the kind of consistency I am interested in :)
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#108 User is offline   amphibian 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 08:38 PM

How the crap does a wizard predict a daughter he doesn't know about being kidnapped, stepping into the Denarian schemes or having to steal stuff from Hades because of a deal his boss made a century ago?

He's also put in hundreds of miles of running (upping the stamina), now parkour (evasion, goofiness boosts), leveraged magical items he's made (blasting rods, rings, staff), organized groups to help him learn about threats earlier and with more detail (ParaNet, Wardens) and more. That's a very rational approach to the hectic life of a trouble-magnet - and it's still not enough because trouble isn't predictable.

Harry Dresden deals with more black swan situations than pretty much anyone in literature. All he can do is make sure the rest of his life isn't trashed too much when they arrive. That's all he's able to do with his gifts and his looks at the probabilities of things.

The thing is that Butcher has developed a gift for giving us these crazy situations that we and Harry do not expect - and probably could not ever expect - then working us and Harry through to the thrill-raising end.
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#109 User is offline   champ 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 08:45 PM

View PostSaitama, on 15 September 2014 - 08:10 PM, said:

That he out-punches stronger oponnents is one issue I have a problem with. Another one is that even though he succeeds, it is usually after running out of mana/endurance and surviving anyway.


The thing is, we do not know just how strong Harry really is yet and he doesn't either, all the starborn stuff is a mystery, we've only had hints at his true potential, when he's pushed to the limit he pulls his finger out of his ass and gets the job done, it's his strength of will... not just his power level.

Hell... Hades classes him as an equal...

Also you'll be surprised what the body can do when you're running out of stamina, when your back is to the wall but you've got no option of carrying on, you find that extra reserve and push on through... run a marathon, you hit the wall, you feel like you're a dead man walking and cannot continue, at that point it is mind over matter, you start one foot after the other and just keep going till you shake free of it (I say in my head the little engine that could haha - I know I can, I know I can...)

View PostSaitama, on 15 September 2014 - 08:10 PM, said:

A rational person would realize pretty quickly that a strategy that leaves you so vulnerable time and time again is not a good one. Especially if you have a choice.


Well everything falls down there... 15 books in, should know that by now Harry is not rational!

This post has been edited by champ: 15 September 2014 - 08:47 PM

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#110 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 08:46 PM

There's your problem. You've been reading them as if they're math books!
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#111 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:04 PM

View Postamphibian, on 15 September 2014 - 08:38 PM, said:

How the crap does a wizard predict a daughter he doesn't know about being kidnapped, stepping into the Denarian schemes or having to steal stuff from Hades because of a deal his boss made a century ago?

As you mentioned, he is a trouble magnet. He can't predict specific scenarios, but he should make 'what if' plans that aren't 'burn it all up and see what happens'.

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He's also put in hundreds of miles of running

That was, if I remember correctly, after 2 out of 3 vampire courts started a war with humanity over him. Hardly an appropriate response.

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Harry Dresden deals with more black swan situations than pretty much anyone in literature.

The best solution for dealing with black swans is pre-determining your risk (doesn't really apply here since it's usually his life at stake anyway) and being flexible. Brute (magical) force is not flexibility.

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The thing is that Butcher has developed a gift for giving us these crazy situations that we and Harry do not expect - and probably could not ever expect - then working us and Harry through to the thrill-raising end.

Dunno about that. For me it all comes down to Harry runing out of mojo but surviving and counterattacking/getting saved by one of his allies. Hardly thrilling if you know that Harry has the capacity to overpower anybody anyway.
I enjoyed Skin Game not because of the action (I predicted most of the twists) but because it was well thought out and Harry used his brain more than before.
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#112 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:10 PM

View Postworry, on 15 September 2014 - 08:46 PM, said:

There's your problem. You've been reading them as if they're math books!


So they... aren't supposed to add up?
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#113 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:11 PM

We're divided on that issue.
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#114 User is offline   Saitama 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:34 PM

View Postchamp, on 15 September 2014 - 08:45 PM, said:

The thing is, we do not know just how strong Harry really is yet and he doesn't either

Well, he is obviously strong enough to tackle anybody :)


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Also you'll be surprised what the body can do when you're running out of stamina, when your back is to the wall but you've got no option of carrying on, you find that extra reserve and push on through...


I don't have any experience in running a marathon, but I'm pretty sure that fighting when you are out of stamina is a recipe for having your ass kicked

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Well everything falls down there... 15 books in, should know that by now Harry is not rational!


True, he is not rational at all. It is good that his guardian angel Butcheriel has him under his wing, otherwise Harry wouldn't survive for long.
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#115 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:47 PM

View PostSaitama, on 15 September 2014 - 09:34 PM, said:

View Postchamp, on 15 September 2014 - 08:45 PM, said:

Also you'll be surprised what the body can do when you're running out of stamina, when your back is to the wall but you've got no option of carrying on, you find that extra reserve and push on through...


I don't have any experience in running a marathon, but I'm pretty sure that fighting when you are out of stamina is a recipe for having your ass kicked...


Oh c'mon.... hundreds of thousands if not millions of books, movies, tv shows, cartoons, comics, myths, legends, and millenia old carvings on cave walls call bullshit on your point.
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#116 User is offline   Grief 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:10 PM

I'm not sure that the trope itself is the issue so much as Butcher's application of it, which a lot of the time seems formulaic at best. After a few books, him finding new reserves and getting a power up - once per book, about 4/5 of the way in - just starts feeling a bit like he's a bit over fond the Dragonball-Z guide to character development. Some are foreshadowed in advance, and use means well established within the universe, others seem more inexplicable (I didn't know I could do that), or less well established (the reader didn't know I could do that, and I didn't do that before and don't do it more often, for reasons that again vary in how convincing they are). I think that even if all the power ups were of the former variety, it would still be valid to complain about the repetitiveness of it by this point. On the other hand, if you struggle with recurring use of comfortable tropes then I'm not really sure the Dresden files are really the books for you in the first place.

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#117 User is offline   Studlock 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 11:01 PM

I've long had similar irritation about Dresden the character, I enjoy the series, I really do, it's like a superhero comic and I love superhero comics but my main problem is two fold. One Harry is the most vanilla white-male protagonist to ever protagonist. It's like Butcher took the most boring parts of film noir (the causal sexualization and infantilization of capable women and person he otherwise views as peers is particularly annoying...it's just noir dressing without containing any of themes noir dealt with but that's for another time), Die Hard and other 80s action movies (strong men with nothing but their will power and whatever items they can jury rig up), and various chosen one character arcs (and Harry is clearly the chosen one) and put the boring parts into a single character. That to me is bad writing, to purposely make a boring character (which is obviously a subjective thing). I have yet to read past book eight but I don't really think it's a valid excuse to say 'but read up to *insert number of book here*, that's where it gets really good!', especially if the books are meant to be read as single books. It's even more frustrating because Dresden supporting cast is infinitely more interesting both with the context of stories and within the world created (and yes I know he's written short stories about them but that doesn't really make up for reading about Dresden just so I can continue the story about Murphy). I would rather read about Micheal, or Murphy, or his brother, or Kincaid and the Archive, or any of the villains than Harry who is so aggressively bland it hurts. He's Spider-Man written at his worst but without the weight of the history behind him nor the particularly iconic beginning. He's a walking creative status quo--mysterious parentage that will probably make him the chosen one? Check! Grew up without said mysterious parentage make him a stout isolate who isn't really? Check! Some kind of culturally acceptable discrimination embedded into the character presented as an amazing and deep character flaw? Check! The will power to push through any issue while also being his defining characteristic? Check!

The list can go on but I won't because, if you agree or disagree with my assessment, I think I've highlighted it enough.

The second has nothing to do with Butcher (which admittedly I'm not a very big fan of his) or Dresden--it's the fanbase on this board and particularly the somewhat disgusting normalization of addiction to highlight the 'goodness' of the series as if addiction is something good or even to be made light off (I don't mean to attack anyone who does so, it's mostly a personal thing for me because my family and my community have dealt and still deal with the problems of addiction and via associated memory it leaves a bad taste in my mouth). *put's on geek glasses* Also outside of that somber sentence I have hard time taking seriously the claim of "Dresden is best Urban Fantasy writer eva!!!!" when people like Kate Griffin, Mike Carey, Ilona Andrews exist who are clearly superior chooses in the category of 'Best Urban Fantasy writer eva!!!!" *takes nerd glasses off*.

I'm prepared for the consequences this post may bring.

This post has been edited by Studlock: 15 September 2014 - 11:02 PM

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 11:33 PM

View PostSaitama, on 15 September 2014 - 08:10 PM, said:

That he out-punches stronger oponnents is one issue I have a problem with.



I have to admit that I smiled at this line due to your avatar.

Also Studlock, Matthew Swift merely wishes he was Harry Dresden

:)
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Posted 15 September 2014 - 11:44 PM

View PostStudlock, on 15 September 2014 - 11:01 PM, said:

...The second has nothing to do with Butcher (which admittedly I'm not a very big fan of his) or Dresden--it's the fanbase on this board and particularly the somewhat disgusting normalization of addiction to highlight the 'goodness' of the series as if addiction is something good or even to be made light off (I don't mean to attack anyone who does so, it's mostly a personal thing for me because my family and my community have dealt and still deal with the problems of addiction and via associated memory it leaves a bad taste in my mouth).



So basically, you take issue with the use of the word 'dresdencrack' and the references to shakes and such when discussing the wait between books.

So noted.

Not that i'm going to expect anyone to stop, because we're not going to even attempt to control humor to that extent when there is no obvious prejudice to it, but i appreciate that you were willing to raise it. If you want to pursue the point, take it to the discussion board.




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*put's on geek glasses* Also outside of that somber sentence I have hard time taking seriously the claim of "Dresden is best Urban Fantasy writer eva!!!!" when people like Kate Griffin, Mike Carey, Ilona Andrews exist who are clearly superior chooses in the category of 'Best Urban Fantasy writer eva!!!!" *takes nerd glasses off*.


So basically you think Kate Griffin and IIona Andrews are better authors than Jim Butcher.

So noted.

NOW you're banned. :)

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I'm prepared for the consequences this post may bring.


Don't be silly. This is a safe place where all opinions may be expressed and treated as valid with respect and fairness and could you lean back towards the window and turn your head slightly and maybe stay still for about six seconds thank you...
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#120 User is offline   Studlock 

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 12:19 AM

View PostAbyss, on 15 September 2014 - 11:44 PM, said:


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I'm prepared for the consequences this post may bring.


Don't be silly. This is a safe place where all opinions may be expressed and treated as valid with respect and fairness and could you lean back towards the window and turn your head slightly and maybe stay still for about six seconds thank you...




It's so beautiful outside *insert the ending of The Assassination of Jesse James*.

But more seriously (or less accordant to your point of view) I do think that this board, and perhaps fantasy fandom aboard overly focuses on Butcher as some time of Urban Fantasy wunderkind. I (obviously) disagree with that stances mostly because again his main character could literally be a completely blank slate and be more interesting. Even someone like Patrica Briggs within in the same weight class (for me at least) does much more interesting things with her protagonist (starting off with by not being every action-hero/chosen one ever conceived) than Butcher.

Like I said it's mind-boggling.
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